Science

'Hot' Yoga Is No Better for Your Heart

'Hot' Yoga Is No Better for Your Heart

"These novel findings highlight the effectiveness of hatha yoga postures alone, in the absence of a heated practice environment, in improving vascular health and are of clinical significance given the increased propensity toward heat intolerance in aging adults", the authors wrote. While the yoga practice-founded and popularised in the 70s by Bikram Choudhry-has always been a favourite of people seeking to add an extra level of difficulty to their practice, there's new evidence to suggest the addition of 40°c heat does nothing to make it more beneficial than other forms of yoga. "So we thought that the heated environment in Bikram [hot] yoga would cause a greater response and have more benefit".

To answer that question, the investigators focused on 52 sedentary but healthy adults aged 40 to 60.

They were all randomly assigned to one of three groups: a hot Bikram group; a normal-temperature Bikram group; or a non-practicing, or sedentary, group that did not participate in the classes to act as controls. Researchers found that practicing Bikram yoga, a form of hot yoga, is no more beneficial than performing the same poses at room temperature. He started with classes at 28 C and eventually pushed that to 40 C.

In the end, the investigators determined that both Bikram groups achieved similar improvements in their vasodilation levels, regardless of room temperature.




However the U.S. study is the first to determine if it is the heat or simply the yoga itself which provides the health boost.

The study, published in the journal Experimental Physiology, states: 'These results indicate that the set sequence of 26 postures and two breathing exercises may be the key ingredient in producing favourable changes in endothelial function with yoga'. "[And] these findings are not sufficient evidence to reach conclusions regarding potential benefits of yoga or Bikram yoga on heart or vascular health", Fonarow said.

Yoga has seen an influx of scientific support in recent years, as it's proven to help lower blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar, according to Harvard Health.

Bikram Yoga International did not respond to a request from HealthDay for comment. A longer course of yoga may have had more of an effect, she says.


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